Madlib

Medicine Show No. 2: Flight to Brazil

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Madlib does an aural morph on the Beat Konducta’s identity for his Medicine Show recordings -- this is the second in what is projected to be a 12-month-long album series all issued in 2010. (The first was Before the Verdict , a re-imagination of Detroit rapper Guilty Simpson that includes remixes, alternate takes, new homegrown beats, and melds of jazz, funk, exotica, etc.) The title here gives this volume's music away on the 79-minute mix. Madlib goes all out -- all the way out -- on this platter: there are elements of MPB, early folk styles and field recordings, funk, jazz, psychedelia, tropicalia, carnival, forro, bossa nova, samba, Afoxe, and more, from Brazilian sources. In addition to the killer found sounds from his four-ton stack of vinyl, the mad mixer produces a truckload of new beats and creates wave upon wave of phased atmospheres and textures to accent what he samples. His manner of taking recordings and artists and juxtaposing them to create something new is his trademark. Examples are as rich as segments of Hermeto Pascoal's Slaves Mass against a track by O Quarteto from 1969, then adding a bit of trippy guitar, three different rhythm tracks, a flute solo by Carlos Jimenez, and some of Moacir Santos' Opus 3, before touching on Emilio Santiago, Maria Bethânia, and on and on and on. There are psychedelic rock groups here whose music we may never hear anywhere but here, as well as some we already know -- Som Imaginario, Modulo 1000, Inferno No Mundo, and many others. The entire thing is a wild head and heart trip, saturated in gorgeous melodies, killer, slippery rhythms, and sonics that are so spaced out, they could only occur on one of Madlib’s recordings. This second volume is more of a treat than its predecessor, perhaps because of, rather than in spite of, its exotic point of departure. This is a spliffed-out joy to listen to. Fans of Madlib’s more jazz-oriented modes may dig this a bit more than those who dig the hard-edged beats, but this is an adventure to appreciate as much for its ambition as what it offers.

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